Advent are early runner in bid for €1bn stake in LFP’s rights subsidiary

October 27 – Private Equity fund Advent International is considering buying a stake in the Ligue de Football Professionnel’s (LFP) new media company. 

The LFP founded the subsidiary to manage broadcast and sponsorship deals, a model that is applied by various European leagues, and Bloomberg reports that Advent, who previously expressed interest in Italy’s Serie A, has now pivoted towards a potential investment in French football, where star power skyrocketed after the arrival of Lionel Messi in Paris. 

Last March, French authorities green-lighted with a vote that sports leagues could set up commercial entities to sell a stake to external investors on the conditions that those leagues would at least control 80% of voting and economic rights in the entity. In an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe LFP president Vincent Labrune has said the league’s new commercial subsidiary can raise €1 billion and will be key to the survival of French football. 

Last year, French football was plunged into a crisis when the unprecedented TV rights deal worth more than €1.15 billion per year (€814 million a year from Mediapro and €330 million from BeIN Sports), the second-largest deal in Europe, collapsed. Amazon stepped in, getting a very favourable deal to show the matches. 

The global health crisis further compounded the crisis with a severe drop in match-day revenues for the clubs. French football’s dire situation is not unique in Europe. Other leagues and clubs are also scrambling for money. CVC pumped €2 billion into a La Liga subsidiary, even though league boss Javier Tebas has maintained the investment has nothing to do with the Covid-19 ravaged football landscape. 

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